DAYTON, OH — Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand flooding coverage and flexibility for farmers after record rains have resulted in late plantings, unplanted acres, and uncertainty for farmers across Ohio.
In a letter sent to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Brown urged the department to ensure the definition of “flooding,” covers excess moisture in farm fields after record rains in the Midwest. Allowing flexibility in the definition will ensure Ohio farmers can access the disaster aid that is available to them through the Disaster Spending bill passed last month.
Brown sent the letter after visiting a farm in Oak Harbor on Monday to hear from northwest Ohio farmers as they struggle with record rainfall and flooding that has led to delays in planting or decisions not to plant at all. According to the Ohio Farm Bureau, due to excessive rainfall, flooding, and oversaturated fields, this has been the worst planting season since it started tracking planting progress in the late 1970s.
“Record rains across Ohio this spring have resulted in late plantings, unplanted acres, and significant uncertainty for farmers across large parts of the state,” Brown wrote. “As such, I urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use the agency’s congressionally-provided flexibility to ensure that Ohio farmers dealing with excessive moisture have all available USDA resources at their disposal.”
In June, Brown and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to declare an USDA disaster designation to help Ohio farmers suffering because of extreme rainfall and flooding. With a USDA disaster declaration, Ohio farmers would receive the financial assistance they need as they continue to work through a difficult planting season.
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), as of July 1, 2019, only 91% of Ohio’s corn and 81% of Ohio’s soybeans have been planted, compared to this time last year when 100% of Ohio’s corn and soybean crops were planted.